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I am a second year nursing student working in L&D at Northside Hospital. I have noticed that is seems to be pretty routine for the women to receive Pitocin. I did a article project on Pitocin and its ill effects for the woman and baby. The articles point was that nature would take care of the timing and pitocin is not needed. I was just wondering what any other more experienced nurse thinks about the use of Pitocin. Also I was wondering if this was the protocal at Northside or if it is usual practice.



349 Posts

If it's a big teaching hospital, then yes, it's probably standard protocol. Where I used to work, there was a sheet of pre-printed orders that came with every patient out of triage, and on it was 'pitocin per unit protocol.' Every patient got an IV, they all got pit, and there was about a 95% epidural rate. I had to actually FIGHT with a doctor once when I refused to start pitocin on a woman who was 8cms, having her 3rd baby on the grounds that SHE DIDN'T NEED IT. The doctor was just floored when lo and behold, SHE DELIVERED without the use of pitocin!!

NOW....that being said, there ARE some cases where pitocin IS actually 'needed' and nature WON'T take care of itself without KILLING the mother or baby first....prime example, pre-eclamptic on the verge of seizure. Pitocin has it's place, however, in large teaching hospitals they tend to give it out like water. It's just lack of education and experience on the part of the medical staff on the most basic level.

Where I practice now, pitocin is used much more judiciously, and pretty much given to women who either need to be induced for medical reasons or who have severely fallen off the labor curve and need a 'kick.' Yes, there are still those physicians who will induce anything they can get an amniohook into, but for the most part, where I practice now the docs and midwives are very much into letting nature take its' course and trusting that a woman's body will do what it needs to do IF YOU HAVE THE PATIENCE TO LET IT ;).

Hope this has answered your question without my pounding too hard on my soapbox. :).


820 Posts

Pit is pretty standard here. But then again, we induce 98% of out OB patients with cytotec :)


149 Posts

I wanna work where kday works!!!!! :D


566 Posts

Specializes in ER, Hospice, CCU, PCU.

I was 6 weeks late with my first child and the doctors chose to use Pitosin. They told me there would be no ill effeects or adverse reactions (I wasn't a nurse yet)

Well Lo and behold..I had an acute allergic reaction to it. Of course they told me that wasn't possible because it was a human by-product but I had the reaction any way.

Although I can no longer have children I still list it with my allergies and physicians still tell me I could no possibly be allergic to it. Never say Never!


349 Posts

HOLY CRAP, DEBBY!!! I have NEVER heard of such a thing!!! I ALWYAS go over the list of possible adverse reactions/side effects with ANY medication I give, including the ol' standby, 'you may, as with any medication, have an allergic reaction.'

Thanks for sharing that, you just never think about someone TRULY having an allergic reaction to pit....I will share your experience w/my coworkers tonight!!!

KristaB.....come on down, girlfriend!! ;)

Beverly McKee

12 Posts

I am doing my OB rotation at northeast medical center in Gainesville and Pitocin is used a great deal there also. Every patient that I have had on L & D were induced with Pit. I also was wondering about that and the nurse that I was following told me that about 95% or so of there births were induced in some way--- eithier with Pit. or breaking the water or both. It seems to me that they just want to have the moms deliver as fast as they can and move her out for the next patient. However, if the side effects are so bad you wouldn't think that this would be done so often. Who Knows??



355 Posts

Specializes in Perinatal/neonatal.

What beast invented Pit? It's called "Pit" for a reason! I have never experience such pain in ALL of my life. I have my cesarean to thank for it. I was such an IDIOT. :o

canoehead, BSN, RN

6,856 Posts

Specializes in ER.

One of my pet peeves is the use of pitocin and episiotomies "only if it is absolutely necessary" but the doc finds it necessary with 95% of their patients. The mum has no way of knowing that the doc has no intention of doing without the epis or the pit unless the doc is honest with them. Then they end up with a birthing experience that was less than what they hoped for. What crap.


1,250 Posts

I can tell you from personal experience that pitocin is not a good experience for a woman giving birth. I had labor induced with my first child (labor had stopped) and I went directly into hard labor. It was not fun and yes, I would wish that pain on my worst enemy!!

Why doc's are using this more often is beyond my comprehension. Childbirth is supposed to be a very special wonderful experience (barring the pain). To give medication to "hurry up" this experience to me may breach ethics because it is giving an unessesary med to a patient who does not need it!! Sounds like a good subject to research for a term paper!!:eek:


149 Posts

I think we also have the advent of epidurals to blame for some of the use of pit. Epidurals help the pain, but slow the labor.

A better method would be education of the client prior to labor. Most women (even pain weenies like me!) can have natural labors and births if they learn what to expect and have tools to deal with it. My first was induced with pitocin, and I will never, ever do it again. My second two were completely natural, last one was a planned homebirth, and though there was pain, it was nothing compared to the pitocin-induced contractions of the first.



17 Posts

I am in OB clinical rotation at a hospital that uses pitocin as the standard protocol. The majority of the patients are induced and given pitocin to increase contractions. Pitocin is also given after delivery to help the uterus continue to contract in order to help prevent excessive blood lose. I think that in this case, administration of pitocin is good because it helps the condition of the postpartal mother. Also, it is good to use pitocin if a woman is having prolonged labor/ disfunctional contractions. The only exception of not using pitocin is when a mother is not having any complications of labor and delivery. I have seen pitocin being used numerous of times to induce labor when there was not any medical reason for doing so.

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